Complete College America report: The failure of remediation

21 Jun

In Remedial education in college, moi said:

Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?

The Big Four

A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.

Key Cognitive Strategies

Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.

Key Content Knowledge

Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….

Key Self-Management Skills

In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.

Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education

Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….

Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions.

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college.

Jon Marcus for the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit based at Teachers College, Columbia University that produces in-depth education journalism writes a guest post for the Washington Post, Many students could skip remedial classes, studies find.

Tamar Lewin of the New York Times also reports on the studies in, Colleges Misassign Many to Remedial Classes, Studies Find.

Complete College America has completed the report, Remediation: Higher Education’s Bridge to Nowhere which examines college remediation programs.

Huffington Post is reporting in the article, College Preparedness Lacking, Forcing Students Into Developmental Coursework, Prompting Some To Drop Out:

High school graduates may be attending college in record numbers, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily ready for higher education.

According to Complete College America — a Washington-based nonprofit aimed at increasing college completion — four in 10 high school graduates are required to take remedial courses when they start college. According to, two-thirds of those students attending four-year colleges in Ohio and Kentucky fail to earn their degrees within six years — a number that is on par with national statistics.

College completion rates are even lower at two-year and community colleges. In Ohio and Kentucky, only 6.4 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, of remedial students earn an associate’s degree in three years. The rest either require more than three years, or withdraw.

Researchers say that remedial numbers have increased from nearly one-third of incoming college freshmen in 2001, to about 40 percent currently. The most common remedial — otherwise known as “developmental” — classes are math, English and writing, and many students are unaware that they need theses courses until they start planning their schedules and colleges decide who is required to take placement tests.

About 1.7 million students nationwide take remedial classes — a cost of $3 billion a year, since developmental courses often cost as much as regular college courses.

Experts also say that remedial coursework makes taxpayers pay twice — once for students to learn in high school, and again in college.

It’s not efficient to be using those higher education dollars for remedial coursework,” Kim Norris, spokeswoman for the Ohio Board of Regents, told “It’s not only more difficult andmore expensive, it can cause students to not complete.”

The ACT indicates only about a third of high school students are college-ready, yet around two-thirds of them are college-bound every year.

Here are the recommendations from the report, Remediation: Higher Education’s Bridge to Nowhere:

Students should be college-ready upon graduating high school. However, colleges and universities

have a responsibility to fix the broken remedial system that stops so many from succeeding.

Adopt and implement the new Common Core State Standards in reading, writing, and math. These voluntary standards, currently supported by more than 40 states, offer multiple opportunities for

states and sectors to work together to:

Align high school curriculum to first-year college courses;

Develop bridge courses; and

Create support programs to help students make a smooth transition to college.

Align requirements for entry-level college courses with requirements for high school diplomas. Academic requirements for a high school diploma should be the floor for entry into postsecondary education.

K–12 and higher education course-taking requirements should be aligned. Provide 12th grade courses designed to prepare students for college level math and English.

Administer college-ready anchor assessments in high school.

These tests give students, teachers, and parents a clear understanding about whether a student is on track for college. Giving these assessments as early as 10th grade enables juniors and seniors to address academic deficiencies before college.

Use these on-track assessments to develop targeted interventions.

K–12 systems and local community colleges or universities can develop programs that guarantee that successful students are truly college ready and exempt from remedial education as freshmen.

Use multiple measures of student readiness for college.

Recognize that current college placement assessments are not predictive and should be supplemented with high school transcripts to make recommendations for appropriate first year courses.

Have all students taking placement exams receive a testing guide and practice test and time to brush up on their skills before this: Some states are ensuring that more


2012 Remediation Report


K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.”


States Push Remedial Education to Community Colleges

What are ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks?           


College Board’s ‘Big Future’: Helping low-income kids apply to college                                                            

Are college students stuck on stupid?              

Producing employable liberal arts grads         

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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